Ikebana relies on balance to make a pleasing arrangement: the elements must balance each other, the container must be balanced against the contents, and so forth. There must be tension and a dynamic element, but it is a still life, with flowers.
Ikebana is also an art form that relies on both instinct and rules. There are rules and forms that have to be learned, but there's also a point where the person creating has to trust his/her own instincts - rules be damned.
It also requires one to be very aware of one's own surroundings - what will work, what won't, and how to manage the materials you have to work with. You don't always like what materials you have, but you have to make them work.
In all these ways, ikebana is also like our spiritual lives: balance is necessary, there are rules (commandments, precepts, etc.), awareness of what is going on both inside and outside. Both require constant self-awareness, and a sense of making the impossible possible.
Ikebana is a beautiful and varied and simple and complex and gentle and frustrating and time-consuming and momentary. Just like our life in Christ.
For the rest of this week, I'll be featuring a photo of ikebana. Enjoy.